2023 - Our Rides in Words, Photos, Maps and Videos

I rode my Vado SL for small grocery shopping in the OFF mode for assist today. Was very proud to be able to climb an overpass nearby on own leg power, even if that was in the 42-42T granny gear :D Interestingly, an 8 km, 30 minute ride was reported as 1% off from the main battery or 5 Wh: used for lighting and the system with its sensors working. It translates to at least 55 ride hours on the main battery :) Or, the system should be alive for 750-880 km :)
Nice!! 750 km would outlast me for sure!!
 
Actually Oxford and surroundings was one of the high points of exploring the U.K. for me. But only there once ...
Not sure whether I have already told this story:

On one of my business trips to Cambridge, I entered the University grounds in the evening. (It was the Trinity College I think). I could see very elegant students of both sexes entering some gate; as I was tipsy I didn't care and followed them. Then I went through another gate.

I found myself in Hogwarts.

It was a dining hall looking exactly as the one described in Harry Potter novels. Only instead of magic lights, the long tables were lit by rows of electric lamps. The King Henry VIII looked at me from a huge portrait on the opposite wall. I could see the students gathering at the bar to collect their meals.

Then, I spotted an Argus Filch. The man looked as if he wanted to ask me some questions. I ran away :)

If anyone wonders what Hogwarts was based on then trust me: It was based on Cambridge or Oxford :)

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An Isaac Newton statue in the Trinity College, Cambridge, UK. (Photo by @Brix)
 
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One of our favorite camping spots in Western Canada is at the Cypress Hills interprovincial park. We prefer the more laid back Saskatchewan side and it is truly a biking paradise for both of us. We like to come this time of year with the fall colors and the dramatic foothills meeting the prairie drop. Our camping spot includes power, free fire wood and right now only one other "senior" camper to share a wide open space.
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Cooler, more Fall like day today, around 50 farenheit, cloudy. Friend and I rode the Warren County Bikeway, a very popular paved trail in the Lake George area of NY. Poor color this year around here! By now things should be peaking and the whole mountain ridge along LG village is still green. Weird weather this year, way too hot, but over in Vermont 10 days ago it looked better than this.

Very nice shortish ride though, a quick 23 miles dodging the threat of rain with a break of blue sky right at the end. I always enjoy this route. Creo performed perfectly as always. I put new Pathfinder Pro tires on it recently, and now that the little nubs have worn off, they just want to roll forever. BIke feels great on them.

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The morning started out with both hubby and I on the tractors to cut the last of the Fall flush of lush grass in the fields before the coming cold weather puts an end to any more growth and gives the mowers a breather until next spring. By the time I'd spent 2 hours riding a mower, I was ready to switch to a more pleasant conveyance, and a change of scenery.

Hubby was still on his tractor as my gray Gazelle and I passed him, me heading down the driveway and him grooming the front field. We waved in passing as I took off on a 21.4 mile tour of the countryside to ostensibly see how many local estates had decorated their entryways in preparation for the upcoming holidays, while he remained to turn several scraggly acres into a pleasant vision of groomed perfection.

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I chose to take the paved roads for a faster, less gnarly ride since the gravel roads were under siege from an influx of washboarding, and I had precious little time to crawl along bumpy roads for the 2 hours I slotted myself as an escape from home.

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Of course, my first 3 miles had to be on a gravel road, but I was too happy to be back out on my bike to care about a few washboards. These two horses enroute grazing on the fresh grass of the waning fall days were diligently intent upon cropping the green stuff without pause, and paid little attention to me as I stopped to take their picture, and then rolled on.

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Throughout the ride I saw a number of estates that had gone all out in decorating their entryway with pumpkin and gourds of all colors and descriptions. It is, after all, that time of year.

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Invariably, each year, this one farm presents a solitary pumpkin of immense girth under their sign. Nothing else, though a pumpkin of this size is a standout all on it's own.

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This farm had four residents in its front field: one horse and three tiny donkeys. The three long eared inhabitants were dressed in Hannibal Lector masks of varying cleanliness and cobbling together, the sole purpose being to thwart the little beasts of burden from eating too much of the rich grass. Not for a weight gain issue, but for a hoof ailment called laminitus- a severe swelling and debilitating issue that, if contracted and not immediately resolved via medication or veterinary intervention, could be fatal. Can't tell the little guys that fact as they would neither believe, or understand, the danger. After all, grass is their food source. However, genetically not in the quantity or lushness offered underfoot. Donkey are desert bred creatures who survive under the toughest of conditions with a sparce food source. Yet...here they are in Virginia with grass rich enough to kill them 100 times over. Hence the masks.

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The route I chose is one that yawns and stretches along the base of tthe Blue Ridge, hemmed in by a stitching of precise wooden fencing and less precise, but much older, stone walls.

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The corn fields that covered the landscape in a green vibrant blanket of waving stalks in the summer had succumbed to the withering drought of the past few months, enough so that the farmers, having no hope of the corn growing to any more profitability, had harvested earlier than normal.
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Some corn was still standing, defeated by the lack of rain and the diminishing sunlight, waiting shoulder to shoulder with wilting heads in solidarity for the threshing machines to reap them of their summer bounty and crush the rest into winter fodder for the cattle.
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A more pleasant view awaited on the other side of the road. One of greenery and trees yet to start dressing in reds and oranges and yellows for Autumn. That dance would be held in the next week or so when the temperatures dropped to "sweaters and woolen caps" level.
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By now my route had started to swing me back home. Back to the gravel roads that populated my area with scant regard for the very few paved roads. There is a profound silence that moves in company with these unpaved roads, a watchful unseen presence that follows my bike as I cruise along, the crunch of gravel under my wheels the only sound besides the music playing in my ear from my Bluetooth headset.
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I stopped and looked behind me at the retreating mountains, noticing that one or two trees already had gotten the memo to start changing their leaves. It seems as if the yellow trees are always the first to embark on the dance that will end a month later in a whirlwind flurry of leaves in flight and the first hint of snow in the air

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I'm not sure why, but the Fall seems to be the preferred time to promote the birth of newborn calves here in Virginia. These little youngsters had been peacefully asleep under the watchful eyes of their mothers when I pulled up alongside the fence to take their picture. The moms were not amused, nor were the calves inclined to remain asleep as I made my noisy way to their fence. I had the briefest of seconds to snap a picture before the babies leapt to their feet and scampered away in abject terror.

I think I need to perfect the art of sneaking if I want to take better shots of sleeping babies.
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No need to be stealthy for the landscapes photographs. It's as if the scenery takes a deep breath and preens itself for the camera's lens, swelling to encompass the horizon in color and majesty. It does make for a beautiful view, well worthy of admiration as I stopped to take a drink, and then lean on my handlebars for a bit, just drinking in the vast color palate of blues and greens.
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At this point I was close to home, close to the end of an idyllic 21.4 miles and 2 hours of escape. My front field was empty of any machinery as I pulled into the driveway. Only the grass remained, meticulously cut to perfection for, hopefully, the final time this year. Hubby had retired inside to a well deserved lunch, and as I parked my Gazelle in the garage, I had every intention of joining him to entertain him with the highlights of my ride.

And then back on the tractor I'd be for the rest of the afternoon. Rain is forecast this weekend so all the fields need to be shorn before then.
 
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there is waste strewn everywhere.
Is/are there no committee(s) that are focused on litter pick-up in the area? If not, can the local government be encouraged to put something in place to attract volunteers to help with litter clean-up? Our county has a dedicated non-profit organization of volunteers to keep our roads clean, and the state and federal departments of transportation give all kinds of free supplies, and do bagged litter collection for any cleaned roads. There is also an "Adopt A Road" program which recognizes (with permanent roadside signs) those people/organizations that are designated caretakers for litter pick-up along certain stretches of road.

Seems such a shame when thoughtless people take away our landscapes to cover them in trash, and nothing is done to alleviate the mess.😐
 
Is/are there no committee(s) that are focused on litter pick-up in the area? If not, can the local government be encouraged to put something in place to attract volunteers to help with litter clean-up? Our county has a dedicated non-profit organization of volunteers to keep our roads clean, and the state and federal departments of transportation give all kinds of free supplies, and do bagged litter collection for any cleaned roads. There is also an "Adopt A Road" program which recognizes (with permanent roadside signs) those people/organizations that are designated caretakers for litter pick-up along certain stretches of road.

Seems such a shame when thoughtless people take away our landscapes to cover them in trash, and nothing is done to alleviate the mess.😐
There are over 200 miles of Redways and some of these are now over 50 years old.

Unfortunately, most councils are strapped for cash, so they cut back on areas that they don’t consider as a priority.

A lot of roads have many potholes and cracks which are not getting repaired, so cycle paths are well down their priority list.

Additionally, the attitude of some people is that of a throw away society which shows how they treat things. Unfortunately respect for a lot of things is lacking these days.

During our trips, we like the saying of, “Take nothing but photos, leave only footprints and kill nothing but time. “

I’m sure that there are local groups that do voluntary work, but I’m visiting the city, not living there. I know where I live, that there are groups which keep our village tidy, but we are a small rural community. Being a local Freemason, we also give our time to supporting our local community to help make it a nice place to live. I’m sure that Freemasons and local groups support Milton Keynes as well, but being a city, it is a much larger with bigger issues.

DG…



DG….
 
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A nice day for a recovery ride, I did make the mistake of telling my sisters I would drive them to our local park in the morning though as that's when the weather was at its best! Its certainly getting colder now, we have gone from 16C to single digits now but I don't mind the cold! So I set off just before midday and the winds had picked up now and there was now a threat of rain, nothing like the monsoons we have been experiencing thankfully! Once again the wind was from the SW but only around 20-25mph so not a problem, yesterday it was nudging 40mph...

My plan was to use as many back roads as possible and it worked to almost perfection and I enjoyed some of the best roads my locale has to offer, I headed NE through Plains and Caldercruix and on through Slamannan where I took the back road to Avonbridge which involves a very fast descent which always makes me smile! :D After Mondays rear wheel puncture I decided to buy new tyres, the same Schwalbe Marathons that have served me so well, I didn't want to chance the rear tyre as the razor sharp stone that embedded in it was pretty wide and left quite a tear! I had recently swapped the front and rear so the front was pretty worn so it was a no brainer to change both!

From Avonbridge I took the road to Linlithgow which is one of my favourites, hence why I ride it so often! Its like a rollercoaster in parts and very fast, I actually arrived in Linlithgow with an average speed of 18mph! Then it was time to turn SW towards Torphicen, into the wind now but its also a great road and is quite well sheltered with trees! Lots of climbing as always in this part of the country but some lovely descents to enjoy on the road to Bathgate, from there I used the main road to Armadale but soon joined the back roads again which were surprisingly dry for the most part! Yesterdays strong winds helped in that respect and there was very little rain for a change!

I passed through Blackridge and stayed on the back roads, I didn't see a single car on this road which is really narrow so I was very happy about that! At the end of this road theres a big descent which brings you out on to the main road from Harthill to Newhouse, its straight into a big climb here and then another nice descent towards Kirk of Shotts (no Capt Kirk jokes @DaveMatthews )😛 I had covered close to 38 miles here so I turned south to take another of my favourite back roads to Hareshaw, not a single car once again here! Eventually this road takes you back on to the main road at Newhouse where I continued straight through instead of turning north to home and continued west to Holytown where I then turned north and took the road to Calderbank which is only 3 miles from home and I had covered just over 47 miles so it worked out nicely for my 50 mile recovery ride!👍

I didn't take any photos today as it was threatening to rain for quite a bit of my ride, I did get caught in a few showers but nothing really bad thankfully! I really enjoyed this ride today, I think I picked the perfect route for the conditions! I have added some more photos from Mondays epic ride though!

@Readytoride I also cut my grass today and I hope its the final cut of the year! No sit down mower for me though, not that I have anywhere near as much as you to cut! ;) I loved reading your ride report as always, your photos were awesome also!👌
 

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The crops are mostly in around central Virginia as well. I'm trying to ride every day (weekend rain excepted) in anticipation of time off next week for another orthopedic procedure. If my bike broke down as much I'd take it to the dump.
How do you like that saddle? Looks like one would sit more in it, than on it--seems like a good idea.
 
I just want the Scots to build a few more bridges so @RabH can show us pictures of the fourth Firth of Forth bridge and the fifth Firth of Forth bridge.
There are actually 7 bridges over the Forth already... 😛 They are currently building a temporary bridge next to the Kincardine bridge as they need to work on the old bridge to stop it from sinking, it was built in 1936!
 
What a change this week.

Our last ride was on Monday around Oxford and the weather was lovely that we were wearing tee shirts.

Didn’t go out on Tuesday as the bike was at the LBS for a service. The only thing that needed doing was putting some more air in the front forks.

Wednesday, I did a days consulting.

Thursday and Friday were very wet round here with heavy rain. Plus, I was at the Osteopath on Friday getting some work done on a stiff neck that I‘ve got.

That brings us on onto today. Mrs DG got up and went to work. I started to get up around 0800, but felt as rough as dogs. I ached from the Osteopath yesterday and I felt cold. Took some painkillers, put the heating on and went back to bed for a bit longer.

Woke up around 1000, feeling much better. So got myself ready and prepared for a bike ride.

Since Monday, the weather has changed dramatically. Heavy rain as already mentioned, plus it is a lot colder, but sunny today.

Temperature is around 12oC (53oF), but with the wind chill is around 10oC (50oF). Wind is around 12mph (19kph), but gusting at 22mph (35kph). So got out the Gore Windstopper and off I went.

Just did a gentle, short ride to get my body moving and did feel better for it. Very nice in the sun, there was still a bit a warmth in it. But the wind did make it a bit chilly on the bike. However, on the way back, with the wind behind you, it was very nice.
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Quite a bit of flooding in the area following the recent rains.
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Put some bigger, 750ml Fabric water bottles on the bike. We had been drinking a lot more recently as we have started to use High5 Zero Sugar Electrolyte Sports Drinks Tablet in our water.
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I’m quite pleased to report that adding air to the front forks (no more knocking feeling) and, changing my seat post to the Kinekt XR, the ride is now very smooth and comfortable.

Back home now and feeling much better.
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DG…
 
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